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Teenage kicks

  Mon 29th April 2019

I'm in Castle Park after work. She approaches me: always the best direction to start in. She takes down my number and asks me what I am doing for the rest of the night.

"Would you mind if I came round?"

"Not all at. OK, see you later."

She neither rang nor turned up.


Three people are playing frisbee nearby; its gliding arc is synaesthetic with the calm which is about to be smashed.

A group of youngsters amble up towards a group of hippy-foreigner types. A boy in his teens slams his foot hard into a hired bike on the floor, rips off a metal part and throws it hard across the park, heedless of any nearby heads. He does it again. One of the foreigners remonstrates with him; I can't hear it. Things appear concluded, and I go over to the Spanish speaker to thank him for intervening.

All of a sudden, we are facing a mob of teenagers, shouting and pushing us and making incoherent complaints against us. We are outnumbered, maybe twenty to a dozen. "Go home! You're children!" we keep saying. "Adults are the problem," one of the children says. The foreigners draw on a deep well of restraint, and reply to pushes, then punches, with questioning gestures and open hands. Everything in my body surges, preparing. It's exciting.

I find myself a yard away from a girl with a bottle in her hand. Someone deftly kicks it out her grip; she finds it again. The children are annoyed at the fuddy-duddies' obstinate non-violence, and so am I, a little bit.

We are being pushed slowly down a hill. Just as we were facing that most unsatisfactory of endings to a bit of open-air argy-bargy -- running away -- the lone black infantryman arrives, the permanently topless man with whom I have been rupturing myself recently.

He walks wordlessly into the ruckus; they sense him, with the psychic radio of crowds. He flicks dismissively with his hand towards each sub-group, and they run towards the main road. Not one of them dares a gobbet of face-saving braggadocio in retreat. He returns to the apparatus in Bristol City Council's unintended free gym.

Our posse regroups and talks excitedly. "Welcome to Bristol!" we say repeatedly, chummy slaps on Spaniards' backs. A Scandinavian man pours a cooling draught of Nordic social contextualisation, saying how he pities them and has sympathy for them. I wonder out loud about what loveless non-homes they must be avoiding.

It's a sorry scene: none of us have any drink left, and any tourists we could tap up, for whom this is a rough guide too far, have long since left. I calculate the time to Tesco's but I know that an exeunt now would be to lose my place in the drama. A policewoman appears. She asks me for my details; in my agitated state I incontinently replied with facts, regretting doing so as I watched her pencil extracting a part of me.

She asks I'd mind her coming round to take a witness statement; they've got the bike-breaking instigator, but they want the girl wielding the bottle. At home, I'm relieved that there's neither phone call nor visit; I only want to talk to myself now. I'm enjoying the comedown, drinking rapidly, the flavour of cider turned up, walking around the room, knowing that I am going to masturbate filthily, postponedly.


My last day at the cafe. I tell my well-meaning but scared supervisor how pleasant it is (usually) in Castle Park after work, when everyone's out for a drink and a chat.

"But you can get fined £60. It's in a designated non-drinking area. I wouldn't risk that." That she knows the amount of the fine and uses the formal terms of the universally ignored bye-law irritates me, but I don't feel like pressing a point on my last day. "Well, live dangerously eh, Brenda?"

6 comments

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Ha, you’ve made me feel old! Back in the day it was all bravado, and my little tribe probably looked more threatening than we were. We were all pose, but a nice police woman did give us a stern warning.
They don’t seem to be all pose anymore.
Sx

Tue 30th April 2019 @ 07:09 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I was never involved in anything remotely like that as a child. I was interested in radio, and girls, in that order. This lot seemed quite damaged and abandoned.

Tue 30th April 2019 @ 07:28 Reply to this comment

Brilliant use of the word synaesthetic (as I am one). Gorgeous. My days of hanging around parks to joust with the off my head crew are in the past (but maybe London is different?); pity. I will swim with colour charged delight in your styling: ‘…with the psychic radio of crowds.’;it’s double gorgeous. Have you ever tried submitting your writing for publiction? If not, why not? EH?

I await your further news about new job and old haunts with glee.

Fri 10th May 2019 @ 15:13 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks – I was a bit worried about that word. I’m still not sure if it’s right, despite your endorsement :)

No, never submitted anything anywhere. Too lazy and too convinced of its rejection.

Sat 11th May 2019 @ 08:36 Reply to this comment

My synaesthesia mixes sound and colour (and texture) - a sort of mish mash crossed wiring that often builds into a kaleidoscopic mosh pit, if not managed. Thus, your gliding frisbee arc before the smashing of calm worked (for me). Obvs (is it?), I interpreted the gliding arc as pregnant with colour and sound but that could be due to my own quirk.

Sat 11th May 2019 @ 23:02 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Thank you LL! I wasn’t sure about using that word. I wish I had your version of synaethesia. The amount I’d have saved on drugs over the years.

Isn’t it great to find such radiant pleasure in something evanescent and simple and unstaged?

Mon 13th May 2019 @ 10:55 Reply to this comment


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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person


M / 55 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.


There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
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The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
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Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
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Using words well is a social virtue. Use 'fortuitous' once more to mean 'fortunate' and you move an English word another step towards the dustbin. If your mistake took hold, no-one who valued clarity would be able to use the word again.
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Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
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